Chapter Twenty Eight

Theo woke late the next day. She was enjoying the feeling of just resting in bed with nowhere to go, until Lady Grey realized she was awake. Lady Grey joyfully ran up to Theo's face and began industriously washing Theo's nose, paying particular attention to the inside. "Oh! Lady Grey! Stop!" she said ineffectually, trying to cover her face with her hands. Not that this worked, Lady Grey just continued to another part of Theo's face that was uncovered. Lady Grey was abruptly evicted from the bed when Ashley pushed her off. Theo pulled her hands away to see her husband standing beside the bed with a tray of breakfast items. "Breakfast in bed?" she said, delighted. "You are a treasure, I just may decide to keep you after all!"

Ashley laughed and sat beside her on the bed. "I hope so, I've worked pretty hard to be here." he teased. "I met your Father when I came back upstairs with your breakfast. It seems he was off to do the same thing I was. Apparently they slept in as well." he chuckled.

Theo smiled and sipped her coffee. "You'd think that getting a good cup of coffee would be possible in Cairo, with so many coffee houses around here. This is positively insipid! It has the consistency of tea."

"Being a hotel that has mostly English guests, they probably cater more to that taste than the stuff you drink. Not everyone wants to drink something your spoon can stand up in!" He paused in reflection. "Maybe I'd better get lessons on making Turkish coffee before we return to England, so you will be able to indulge in your habit?"

Theo laid a hand on Ashley's. "Ash, if I indulged in my habit as you put it, you wouldn't be able to stand me. I would drive you mad with my excess energy. Still, it would be nice to have an occasional cup." She grinned at him over the rim. "How long have you been up anyway?"

Ashley grimaced. "About an hour or so. As soon as I opened my eyes, your little monster came up to give me the same attention she graced you with. The only problem was, there was no one available to save me!"

They both laughed for a moment, then Theo turned serious. "I don't know what else we might have done with her last night, I don't think she would have appreciated staying with Tobias."

"You're right, she would have made him miserable and probably torn the room apart in the bargain. Besides," he continued, "I have to get used to her anyway. Might as well start at the beginning."

After some time, they went downstairs to see if anyone else was about. Theo's parents were sitting in the dining room over some sweets. "Good morning, Theo!" Lucien called. "Come join us."

Theo and Ashley joined them at the table, ordering something light for themselves. "What are your plans?" Theo asked her parents.

"We'd like to get back to England as soon as possible." Eudora answered. "We're planning on catching the train today. Will you be joining us?"

Ashley looked at Theo for a moment before answering. "We've decided to stay a couple of days. Theo promised to take me to Karnak. We plan to return to England shortly after that, we need to make some living arrangements!"

Eudora piped up. "You're welcome to use the townhouse until you find something suitable, you know. We can have it ready for you when you come back."

Theo smiled at her Mother. "Thank you. That will help tremendously. We didn't want to be a burden, so we weren't going to ask."

"Nonsense." Lucien countered. "You're my daughter, we'd have made some kind of arrangements for you."

"I know that, Father. Still, it's nice to be offered something instead of being labeled inconsiderate." Theo scratched Lady Grey's head. "And this way, Lady Grey won't be able to constantly stalk Lisbet and Delphine."

Lucien looked at his daughter strangely. "I believe there must be quite a story behind that statement. I will have my wife fill me in on it later. We will need to hurry if we are to meet the train on time! Tobias has expressed an interest in traveling with us, I will need to see if he is ready also."

"Packed and ready to leave any time you are, Lucien!" Tobias' hearty voice answered. "I'm looking forward to getting home also. Not that I haven't enjoyed being here, mind you!" He said quickly. "But I am sure you two will be wanting some time alone, and I would only be in the way."

"Oh no! Don't ever feel that way, Tobias! You are a great friend of ours and I would never count you as being in the way." Theo remarked. "And don't ever let us treat you that way either." She turned to Ashley, "Right Ash?"

"Th-my wife is right." Ashley said grinning. "I do like the sound of that." Theo rolled her eyes. "You would never be considered an imposition on us, and if I ever act that way, you have my permission to give me a good punch on the nose!"

Tobias grinned. "Thank you, old friend. That means a lot to me. Still, I'd like to get back home all the same." He turned to Theo's parents. "Won't the train be leaving soon?"

Lucien and Eudora stood. "Well, I think that means we must be going! I see the boy at the door, it appears our transport is ready." Eudora hugged her daughter. "Do send us a telegram with the day you will be back so we can make sure everything is ready for you. Travel safely!"

"Thank you, Mother. You also! Enjoy your trip with Father." Theo said with a twinkle in her eye. "Behave yourselves."

"Why should we begin now?" Lucien quipped. With that last statement, they were out the door.

Theo watched her parents walk out of the hotel, hand in hand. "They are still very much in love, aren't they?"

Ashley stood next to his wife and put his arm around her. "Yes. I hope to make that family tradition."

Theo smiled. "Me too." She turned to face Ashley. "I haven't told you this, but I am so glad I was unable to leave with Ahmose without you. I have seen what a good man you are and it has made me love you all the more."

"Thank you." Ashley answered with tenderness. "I told you that you would one day thank me!" he continued with a grin. Tobias grabbed the last piece of luggage and waved a final goodbye before getting into the carriage. "Well, its just the two of us now, isn't it?"

"Rrrr-ah!" came the answering cry from the floor.

"Three of us, you mean Ash. Three of us." Theo giggled.

The End